Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Barbarian in Tripoli

Of all the tyranny in the Middle East, there is none uglier than that personalized by Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. This tyrant is not only a cruel dictator who has robbed a resourceful nation of its future, but he is also a bona fide thug with a long resume in international murder. Even Hollywood could not make up such an evil character had it not sadly existed. This incoherent, and clearly ignorant, tyrant has been permitted for far too long to hijack the aspirations of the Libyan people, serve as an embarrassment for the Arab World, and pose a clear and present danger to the security of the world.  His time is up!

For the past week, the Libyan people have been demonstrating remarkable courage in the face of atrocious acts of murder committed against them by regime elements and their mercenaries. Their determination is growing stronger with every bullet that is fired by this cowardly regime. This is confirmation, yet again, that the barrier of fear in Libya and across the Middle East has been shattered. No longer will a brutal tyrant like Gaddafi terrorize his people into perpetual subservience. This new generation will not permit it!

In Libya, for "justice to rain down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream", it is not enough that Colonel Gaddafi be deposed. He must face justice at home or join Charles Taylor in the Hague for his crimes against humanity. The international community, specifically Europe, should be ashamed of its support for this ugly regime in the last few years. Time has come for them to cleanse and redeem themselves; time has come for them to renew their commitment to human rights and stand forcefully with the Libyan people against this notorious killer and his kin.

Time is Now!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Congratulations Egypt - Mabrouk!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Suleiman the Terrible

The man whom the Pharaoh designated as his Vizir to the delight of many in the West became NOT the "transitional" shepherd they hoped for, but the very embodiment of what is old and wrong about the Middle East.

The indignant Vizir wielded his cane at the crowd and demanded subservience to the rule of their all-knowing Master. He told them that they are incapable of deciding for themselves what the Court can decide for them; that they are unworthy of freedom because they are too uncultured to know what to do with it. As he began to receive a standing ovation from anti-Arab bigots the world over, he warned the 'impertinent' crowd in the town square that disobedience of the Pharaoh "will not be tolerated".

What a shameful display!

Suleiman the Terrible embodies the story of an old elite in the Arab World that suffers from a serious deficit of self-respect. They carry around a complex of inferiority that they contracted from a bygone era. An era of colonial conquest that told them of the helpless inferiority of their minds and the uncivilized ways of their kind. They came to believe that, in the Arab World, to rule is to to dominate their fellow man like a Master would his mule. They went on to oppress their fellow citizens and deny them their essential dignity. They denied them both liberty and opportunity for fear that the 'uncivilized' mind may grow to challenge their authority.

The clock has now run out on this self-hating tyrannical class. After half a century of abject failure, gross injustice, and lost opportunity, the time is up for the likes of Omar Suleiman and Hosni Mubarak.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Not your Daddy’s Middle East

The persistence and courage demonstrated by the Egyptian people against Government-sponsored intimidation and violence in the past two days should quash any doubt on this side of the Atlantic that this is for real. There is no turning back, the Pharaoh is dead, and the people are resolutely in charge of their own destiny. One man at Tahrir Square summed it up this way: "Even if I have to die tomorrow, I have lived today as a free man. Mubarak's not gone yet, but we're the ones who are directing events, not him. These people all around us are the ones who are going to determine the future of the Middle East”. The level of commitment and conviction expressed by that one protester at that moment is, simply put, transformational.

As one might say: This ain’t your Daddy’s Middle East no more!

Yet, some pundits and lawmakers beg to differ. Predictably, it's all about them and their 'strategic considerations'. Their arguments make up a giant piñata of egotism and hypocrisy that betray the very ideals they proclaim to hold dear. One conservative pundit wondered “which revolutions ever led to democracy”. He must have forgotten that his own nation was founded on one (someone should send him a license plate from New Hampshire). Some worried out loud about the price of oil, which…well, let’s just say that their priorities need rebalancing and a visit to the head doctor would be a good idea. Others dished out boilerplate propaganda to warn about anti-western takeovers and policies.

First, the facts on the ground do not support these scare-mongering theories, unless we make them into self-fulfilling prophecies. Though there are many risks and hardships ahead, the scenes, signs, and faces on the streets of Egypt tell the story of a broad-based movement of people determined to free themselves and their nation from autocratic bondage. It is not a monolithic group worked-up in some hate-filled march against the West. If anything, their conduct is really remarkable given the barrage of violence directed at them by pro-government forces. Second, to make support for other peoples’ freedom conditional on whether or not we agree with them reeks of hypocrisy and, ironically, autocratic tendencies.

One heartening moment this week, nonetheless, was the scene of an attentive crowd in Tahrir Square watching and applauding President Obama’s speech on Wednesday. To be sure, that is not a final judgment on US policy by the Egyptian street—We have a long way to go and much more to endure, but it sure was a good sign.